The other day H and I went on a road trip to Bellingham, WA. We talked long, as is our habit on lengthy drives, and had the chance to explore all sorts of topics. We also nabbed the chance to take a few photos in front of an Autism Speaks billboard.
We have driven by this billboard so many times – and each time I have cringed as we discuss the rhetoric promoted by Autism Speaks, because I wonder if the positive messages we give our son are enough to mitigate the constant barrage of negativity in the media.
But this time we stopped, and when we did so, I could see that H stood a little taller…
H and I will feel different from now on when we pass that sign because we shifted things to create a message of pride. This action, though it may have been relatively small, empowers him and builds his understanding that he has a right to rail against stigma and to fight for social justice.
It was an opportunity to encourage and support H in rejecting negative stigma.
I want my son to stand strong against organizations and messages that work to tear him down, or shame him because of his neurology.
I want to my son to know that he is accepted…
That he is not broken…
That we all need support…
That he has a voice and perspectives that are valued…
That he has a right to be heard…Image description: A young man who is wearing a hoodie is standing in a grassy field looking toward an Autism Speaks Billboard which contains the 1 in 110 statistic about diagnosis and urges people to “Learn the signs.” A #BoycottAutismSpeaks sign has been added under the billboard. Text on image reads: “I want my son to stand strong against organizations and messages and that work to tear him down and shame him, or tell him he is broken, because of his neurology.I want him to feel proud that he is growing up to be an Autistic adult. That is why I #BoycottAutismSpeaks”
I want H to feel proud that he is growing up to be an Autistic adult.
That is why I boycott Autism Speaks!
Please check out these petitions and links to find out more and take action to support the Boycott Autism Speaks movement:
• Website: boycottautismspeaks.com
• On facebook: Boycott Autism Speaks
• On Twitter: @Boycott_AS (check out hashtags #BoycottAutismSpeaks and #EducateSesame)
• Petition: To the Corporate Sponsors of Autism Speaks
• Petition: to Sesame Street Reconsider Partnership with Autism Speaks
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2014)